Category Archives: #tiffjp

30th TIFF to Celebrate Four Iconic Actresses

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Japan Now: Muses of Japanese

Japan Now: Muses of Japanese Cinema

30th TIFF to Celebrate Four Iconic Actresses: 


Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 10.38.03 AM


The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is highlighting the work of four iconic actresses in this year’s Japan Now section. This is one of the special programs planned to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Sakura ANDO, Yu AOI, Hikari MITSUSHIMA and Aoi MIYAZAKI have been chosen as the Muses of Japanese Cinema in honor of the powerful sparks they generate on screen, their collaborations with renowned directors and their increasing international stature.

In addition to the Muses of Japanese Cinema screenings, panel sessions with special guests will also be held.

Tokyo Film
30th TIFF Visuals by Mika Ninagawa

TIFF is also pleased to unveil striking anniversary visuals by creative director Hiroshi SASAKI and art director Akihiro HAMABE — who served as the creative supervisor and chief art director, respectively, of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics performance at the Rio closing ceremony — in collaboration with acclaimed photographer and film director Mika NINAGAWA, known for her brightly colored photographs.

TIFF is dedicated to discovering and cultivating new filmmakers from around the world, whose work is highlighted in our Competition section, as well as to presenting internationally acclaimed titles during our 10-day festival.

The 30th TIFF will take place from October 25 – November 3, 2017 at Roppongi Hills and other venues in Tokyo.


(Source: tiff-jp press release)

Japan Now: Muses of Japanese Cinema

Submissions Open for the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Film submissions for the Competition section of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) can now be made on the festival website. (Submission period: April 14 – July 14, 2017)

As one of the largest film festivals in Asia, TIFF is proud that our Competition section has been showing many outstanding films created by up-and-coming directors as well as premieres of works by prestigious filmmakers from around the world.

In 2016, we were honored to receive 1,502 films from 98 countries and regions. Sixteen excellent films were screened after pre-selection and The Bloom of Yesterday (Germany) directed by Chris Kraus won the Tokyo Grand Prix.


29th TIFF Award Winners ©2016 TIFF

TIFF looks forward to even a larger number of submissions from around the world. The 30th TIFF will take place October 25-November 3, 2017 for 10 days in Tokyo, JAPAN.

For detailed information about film submissions, please visit the TIFF official website:

(Source: tiff-jp press release)

Holocaust comedy snares grand prize at 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Philip Brasor, Special To The Japan Times

Philippine trans people, Scandinavian reindeer herders and a romantic comedy about the Holocaust dominated the closing ceremony of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival on Thursday.

The ceremony at Ex Theater Roppongi opened appropriately enough with awards to individuals who furthered domestic cinema this year, including Godzilla, who appeared on stage to accept an award for the year’s big hit, Shin Godzilla, on the 62nd anniversary of the first Godzilla film released in 1954.


Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, decked out in a matching black pantsuit and fedora, awarded the Grand Prix to The Bloom of Yesterday, a provocative comedy about two Holocaust researchers — one German, the other French — who battle over history while falling in love.

However, the top award didn’t arouse as much audience excitement as Koike’s announcement that next year’s TIFF budget would be even larger than this year’s, thanks to additional government expenditure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Another festival winner was “Die Beautiful,” a Philippine film about a transgender woman who dies while being crowned for a beauty pageant. In addition to winning the Audience Award, the film’s leading man, Paolo Ballesteros, won the festival’s best actor award, although presenter Mabel Chung made the point that Ballesteros could have easily won either the “best actor or best actress” prize.

The best actress award went to Lene Cecilia Sparrok, the teen star of the Swedish-Danish-Norwegian co-production, Sami Blood, which examines the discrimination that the indigenous Sami people of northern Scandinavia suffered, and which also won the second place Jury Prize. Sparrok, a reindeer herder in real life, was so overwhelmed that she lost her English-language capability and conveyed her gratitude in Sami.

The best artistic contribution prize went to Mr. No Problem, a gorgeously shot and staged comedy of manners, financed and produced by the Beijing Film Academy, about a Chinese farm and its impossibly agreeable manager that takes place in 1943, when Japan and China were at war.

During his Grand Prix speech, jury head Jean-Jacques Beineix stressed that what unified the films he and his colleagues judged this year was their rejection of a “globalist mindset.” All of the films “accepted our differences” and proved that “a universal cinema does not exist.”

The fact that there were no Japanese winners in the main competition categories wasn’t lost on local reporters. During the post-ceremony news conference, one Japanese journalist asked Beineix how he “discussed” the two Japanese entries with his colleagues.

“As you know, our discussions have to be kept secret,” Beineix replied, evincing a wave of laughter. In any case, Poolsideman, which depicts the lonely life of a Tokyo pool lifeguard, won the Japan Splash prize for domestic indie films, and director Hirobumi Watanabe openly wept on stage while accepting the award.



When to speak and when to shut up: the art of a Japanese ‘benshi’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Alisa Yamasaki

The silent films screened in Japan from the 1920s to ’40s were never completely silent. Katsudo-shashin benshi, or benshi for short, delivered live narration that provided everything an audience might need to appreciate a film — from commentary to translation. Derived from Japan’s many narrative art forms, benshi were an effective way to introduce cinema to Japanese audiences.

Though the era of silent films is gone, the art of narration lives on through a handful of professionals. Ichiro Kataoka is one of the country’s few active benshi, and he will provide narration for Tomiyasu Ikeda’s 1926 classic “Chushingura” at the Tokyo International Film Festival’s Special Night Event at Kabukiza Theatre. The event will also feature narration by guest benshi Ichiro Furutachi and a special performance by kabuki actor Onoe Kikunosuke.

Modern day benshi, Ichiro Kataoka (Photo credit: Dan Szpara)

“I had known about benshi but I thought that it was a long lost profession,” Kataoka tells The Japan Times. “When I was 18, I happened to attend a benshi performance by Midori Sawato and it made me want to learn about being one.”

At age 38, Kataoka has built an impressive career out of the art. The professional benshi has narrated more than 300 films and has been invited to perform at events around the world.

“When I perform overseas, I’m asked to narrate classic Japanese films, but I do films from any country: Japanese, European, American, Chinese, anything,” Kataoka explains. Are non-Japanese films more challenging to narrate than domestic ones?

“There’s a specific pacing with classic Japanese films that makes it easier for benshi, since Japanese silent film directors were aware of the benshi and filmed their work with them in mind. With foreign cinema, mostly European, the director tries to convey as much as possible through the cinematography,” he says.

“At the end of the day whether it’s Japanese or not, the film I’m narrating is old. But I’m a modern person and my audience comprises modern people, so I need to constantly think about how to communicate the old film from one modern person to another — what themes to bring up and what scenes to emphasize — in order to present it as a terrific piece.”

While Kataoka has a compelling tone and presence to him, he says it’s crucial for benshi to understand they don’t have the leading role.

“A good benshi always remembers when to shut up and let the images do the talking,” he says. “Silence can be more powerful than words.”


Special Night Event at Kabukiza Theatre will be held on Oct. 27 and is sold out. However, The Japan Times has two pairs of tickets to give away to readers. To apply, send a postcard by Oct. 23 with your name, address, postal code, phone number and the word “TIFF” to the Life & Culture section of The Japan Times, 4-5-4 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023. To apply online, visit


29th Tokyo Film Festival Announces winners of Samurai Award

The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is pleased to announce that the recipients of SAMURAI Award for 2016 are Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese (Silence, The Departed, Taxi Driver) and Cannes award-winning director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Journey to the Shore, Tokyo Sonata, Cure). The SAMURAI Award, now in its third year, commends achievements by veteran filmmakers who continue to create groundbreaking films that carve paths to a new era in cinema.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, winner of 3rd Samurai Award for the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (Photo courtesy of

The SAMURAI Award Ceremony will be held on November 3 (Thu), 2016 during the Closing Ceremony of the 29th TIFF. To commemorate the event, the 3rd SAMURAI Award Special Talk “In Person: Kiyoshi Kurosawa” will also be held on the same day. At this event, we will look back at Kurosawa’s outstanding career and discuss the many challenges he has faced during his journey in filmmaking.

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorcese, winner of 3rd Samurai Award for the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of

Due to the director’s schedule, Martin Scorsese will not be able to attend the ceremony, but Kiyoshi Kurosawa will be present at the ceremony to receive the award.

The 29th TIFF will be held from Oct.25 to Nov.3, 2016 at Roppongi Hills, EX Theater Roppongi and other theaters in Tokyo.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 5.35.18 AM

(Source: Press release provided by

*For further information or inquiries, please contact: TIFF Public Relations Division
Tel: +81-3-6226-3012; Fax: +81-3-6226-3023; email:


French director Jean-Jacques Beineix to head jury for 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

More than 200 films will be screened, with 16 taking part in the competition section, at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) running from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3.

The 29th TIFF will take place at Roppongi Hills in Minato Ward.

Jean-Jacques Beineix, director of “Diva” and the Oscar-nominated “Betty Blue,” is heading the jury, which includes Japanese director Hideyuki Hirayama, Hong Kong director Mabel Cheung, Spotlight producer Nicole Rocklin and Italian actor Valerio Mastandrea.

The 16 films in the competition section were selected from among 1,502 titles from 98 countries and regions.

During the 10-day affair, there will also be unique film-related events at the festival’s venues, including stage appearances, Q&A sessions and symposia featuring celebrated guests.

Among the guests will be Mamoru Hosoda, who is being honored this year with his own section in the Animation Focus category called “The World of Mamoru Hosoda.”

He was also at Monday’s news conference in the Toranomon Hills complex announcing the festival lineup.

(Source: Staff Report

Lipstick Under My Burkha to be screened at 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Suparno Sarkar

The movie Lipstick Under My Burkha will have its World Premiere at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival to be held from Octoer 25 to November 3. Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and produced by Prakash Jha, the film is set in the crowded lanes of a small town and chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of freedom.

Lipstick Under My Burkha features Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, among others.

Expressing her excitement about the movie being screened at the Tokyo Film Festival, the director said in a statement: “The landscape of small town India is rapidly changing, and women are finding the courage to think about what they truly want. Their secret dreams and veiled desires – just on the verge of breaking out. It is this point of transition that Lipstick Under My Burkha explores. Though locally rooted, it is a story with universal resonance. And I am delighted to begin the film’s journey at the esteemed Tokyo International Film Festival.”

Meanwhile, Konkona Sen Sharma is also delighted about the event. “It is truly an honour to have our film premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival. I’m particularly excited because it is in a competitive section at such a prestigious festival,” she said.

A still photo of Ratna Pathak from Lipstick Under My Burkha (Photo courtesy of PR Handout)


Ratna Pathak Shah added: “I am thrilled to be a part of this brave film that explores desire in the context of a changing India. And I am delighted that our film will premiere at the Tokyo IFF. It is wonderful news.”


ANIME NEWS: One-day anime event a feature of the Tokyo film festival this year

The Boy and the Beast (Photo credit: The Boy and the Beast Film Partners)

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will open with the British film “Florence Foster Jenkins” and close with one about shogi titled “Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow.”

Organizers also announced that a one-day special anime event TIFF Ani!! will be offered for anime fans on Halloween on Oct. 31.

The 10-day festival will be held from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3 at the Roppongi Hills complex, EX Theater Roppongi and other venues in the capital.

The TIFF was started in 1985. In recent years, it has shone the spotlight on anime films. Last year, it screened “Garakowa: Restore the World,” “Miss Hokusai,” “Ajin: Demi-Human” and other works, in addition to covering the “Mobile Suit Gundam” robot anime franchise.

Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, who starred in Stephen Frears’ “Florence Foster Jenkins,” will visit Japan for the occasion.

“Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow” starring Kenichi Matsuyama is about Satoshi Murayama, a shogi Japanese chess master who died at a young age.

In addition to a special evening event at Kabukiza theater, the festival will host the TIFF Ani!! event at the Tokyo International Forum.

Little advance information has been disclosed, but it will focus on anime songs.

This year, the TIFF will also feature Mamoru Hosoda in a special program titled “The World of Mamoru Hosoda.”

Hosoda is a leading anime director whose latest work is “The Boy and the Beast,” which opened in 2015. More details about the program will be unveiled in late September.

Visit the festival’s official website at (




29th Tokyo International Film Festival Announces Lineup for CROSSCUT ASIA #03: Colorful Indonesia

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is just around the corner!

We are pleased to announce the lineup for CROSSCUT ASIA #03: Colorful Indonesia. The third chapter of the CROSSCUT ASIA series, launched by the Japan Foundation Asia Center and TIFF in 2014 to showcase Asian films, now turns its attention to recent cinema from Indonesia.

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 7.53.46 AM.png
Known as a nation of “tolerant Islam,” Indonesia is made up of more than 10,000 islands and has regional cultural differences that make it the ultimate land of diversity. TIFF has been presenting outstanding Indonesian films, reflecting the nation’s diverse culture, since the 80’s. In this year’s focus, we will showcase 11 films, from the latest works by veterans to the unique, ambitious work of up-and-coming directors.

In the showcase, we will highlight three films by Teddy Soeriaatmadja, whose provocative and powerful work is internationally acclaimed. Along with Soeriaatmadja’s so-called Trilogy About Intimacy, the lineup also includes such rising female directors as Nia Dinata, a pioneer in LGBT films, and Kamila Andini of the Mirror Never Lies.
During the festival, guests from the films will attend the Q&A sessions and symposium.
The 29th TIFF will take place October 25 – November 3, 2016 at Roppongi Hills, EX Theater Roppongi and other venues in Tokyo.

(Source: )

29th TIFF Lineup for Special Screening Section and Reveal its Festival Trailer

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is just around the corner!
TIFF is pleased to announce the full lineup for the Special Screening Section. It presents high-profile films, both Japanese and international films and we are expecting to welcome many glamorous guests to the Opening Carpet and stage appearances!


Special Screening Section  Lineup


*Screening schedule will be announced on the 29th TIFF official website ( in mid-October.